Rating the Rumor: Eagles 'In on' Alshon Jeffery

Rating the Rumor: Eagles 'In on' Alshon Jeffery

Ian Rapoport for the NFL Network reports the Chicago Bears are not expected to place the franchise tag on free-agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery before the March 1 deadline. Meanwhile, league sources previously told Jason La Canfora for CBS Sports that they “anticipate” the Eagles “being in on” Jeffery should the 2013 Pro Bowler become accessible.

Put two and two together, and there are folks around the NFL who believe the Eagles will pursue Jeffery when free agency opens on March 9.

Yet while receiver is one of the Eagles’ two greatest needs this offseason, whether they should make a run at Jeffery and whether they can afford him might be two different answers. Getting another weapon for Carson Wentz seems like it will be the top priority in free agency, but doing so will not be cheap, and the club is up against the salary cap.

There’s little doubt the Eagles will reach out to Jeffery. Aside from the organization being known for always doing its due diligence with players, the 27-year-old is hands down the best option on the market. Over the 2013 and ’14 seasons, Jeffery averaged 87 receptions, 1,277 yards and 8.5 touchdowns per year. He’s dealt with injuries and a terrible supporting cast in the two years since, yet still managed to go over 800 yards receiving in each.

Jeffery has some baggage, specifically the four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy in 2016. Despite everything, only nine active players are averaging more than his 72.2 yards per game, and only 10 better than 15.0 yards per reception. The talent is undeniable, and with a quarterback of Wentz’s caliber throwing him the football, the sky is the limit.

The Eagles absolutely should pursue Jeffery. Actually signing him is where this begins to get tricky.

For starters, the Eagles are currently sitting at an estimated $8.69 million under the cap, according to OverTheCap.com. Only three teams are in worse shape. There may be more moves to free up space in the coming days, which will help, although even if they get that figure closer to $25 million through a series of trades and releases, the numbers are tight.

Jeffery collected $14.6 million under the franchise tag in ’16, and while he might not see quite that much annually on his next contract, it’s not out of line with expectations. Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant are all making $14 million or more per season. Jeffery may not have the body of work of those players, but as the top receiver available, the market will value him and be willing to pay as such.

That $25 million the Eagles can theoretically free up might be the best case scenario. It likely won’t be that, which means signing Jeffery would take up practically all of their cap space for ’17. Obviously, there are ways to structure a contract to push money into future years, and the case could be made the Eagles don’t need to sign any other free agents.

No matter how you slice it, there are some logistical concerns here. Until the Eagles shed some of those contracts and we can see what they’re working with, it’s difficult to envision how they win a bidding war against suitors with upwards of $50, $60, even $70 million to spend.

It’s not so much a question of interest for the Eagles. It’s whether or not signing Jeffery is realistic in the first place.

Rating the Rumor: We’ll see

More details emerge about NFL draft experience on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philly

More details emerge about NFL draft experience on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philly

Football fans have been pretty excited about the NFL draft coming to Philadelphia but details surrounding the event have been relatively scarce.

The Mayor of Philadelphia's office released more details this afternoon about what exactly will be going on in front of the Art Museum and along the Ben Franklin Parkway.

They had said previously that they expect a record-setting 200,000 fans through the experience.

Here are some of the highlights.

The fan festival activities will be FREE and last for three days along a half-mile stretch of the Ben Franklin Parkway. This will include "interactive exhibits, immersive games, and virtual reality experiences, free player autograph sessions and more."

Hours for the fan experience:

Thursday, April 27: 12 pm - 11 pm

Friday, April 28: 12 pm - 11 pm

Saturday, April 29: 10 am - 6 pm

In addition to the special fan fest experience, a number of the museums in the area will be offering special discounts or even free admission.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will offer free general admission during those three days of the draft will discounts on special exhibits. The Barnes Foundation will be closed on Thursday for a special event but will maintain normal business hours (10 am - 5 pm) on Friday and Saturday. The Franklin Institute will be open to the public from 9:30am-5pm during NFL Draft days (April 27-29).

There will be a plethora of road closures starting in phases as early as April 10th. The full extent of the road closures will begin on the 25th at 12:01 am and include the following:

21st Street closed from Winter Street to Spring Garden Street
     *   Local access to Pennsylvania Avenue only (all traffic must turn left)

  *   22nd Street closed from Race Street to Spring Garden Street
     *   Local access to Park Towne Place only (residents)

  *   23rd Street closed from Fairmount Avenue to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
     *   Local access only

  *   24th Street closed from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Park Towne Place
     *   Local access only

  *   Martin Luther King Drive closed at Sweet Briar Drive.
     *   Road opened daily during peak AM rush hour on 4/27 & 4/28 (5AM-10AM) for access to I-676 via 24th Street

  *   Kelly Drive closed from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Fairmount Avenue

  *   Spring Garden Street Bridge closed at 31st Street
     *   Road opened daily during peak AM rush hour on 4/27 & 4/28 (5AM-10AM) for access to I-676 via 24th Street
     *   Access to I-76 westbound will be maintained
     *   Local access to Art Museum will be maintained

  *   Spring Garden Street closed from 22nd Street to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
     *   Local access after peak AM rush hour

  *   Pennsylvania Avenue closed from Hamilton Street to Fairmount Avenue
     *   Local access after peak AM rush hour

  *   Pennsylvania Avenue/Callowhill Street closed from 20th Street to 21st Street
     *   Local access to Barnes Foundation driveway (westbound) only
     *   Eastbound open from 21st Street

  *   Park Towne Place closed from 22nd Street to 24th Street
     *   Local access only (residents)

  *   I-676 westbound 22nd Street off-ramp closed

From our previous post on what the Fan Fest experience will entail:

Among the NFL Draft Experience fan events:

·       Combine Corner – From racing against NFL players to running routes, fans can test their football and athletic skills at Combine Corner, which includes the Vertical Jump and 40-Yard Dash.

·       NFL Virtual Reality – Experience NFL games using virtual reality technology.

·       The Vince Lombardi Trophy – Fans will have the opportunity to take their photo with the Super Bowl trophy.

·       AFC & NFC Locker Rooms – Visit a replica NFL locker room as it appears on gameday. Experience the sights of an NFL pregame with sleek translucent LCDs.

·       NFL Museum (Pro Football Hall of Fame display area) – This exhibit features historical Eagles memorabilia, Super Bowl rings and Conference Championship trophies. Fans can get a digitalized Pro Football Hall of Fame bronze bust in their likeness.

·       College Football Corner – Fans can view College Football Hall of Fame memorabilia from former first round Draft picks and Eagles legends, and cheer on Draft prospects from their favorite college team. Life size player mannequins offer unique photo opportunities.

·       NFL Draft Experience Tailgate – Enjoy selections from some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants in a “taste of the town” tailgate.

·       NFL Network Set – Watch NFL Network analysts break down the NFL Draft.

·       ESPN Set – Check out SportsCenter LIVE from NFL Draft Experience.

·       NFL Shop at Draft – Stop by for the largest assortment of NFL Draft merchandise, including customizable Nike Jerseys and the official 2017 NFL Draft Cap by New Era and other exclusive Draft caps.

·       NFL Draft Set – Visit the official NFL Draft set from Thursday to Saturday and see the view from behind the podium.

Eagles lineman to attend random fan's wedding

Eagles lineman to attend random fan's wedding

Well, if you are a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan who attended Miami University in Ohio, you’re in luck because Brandon Brooks would love to join you and your soon-to-be spouse on your wedding day.

All you need to do is send a letter.

This morning, Brooks tweeted out a letter he received from fellow Miami University graduates Geoffrey Lane and his bride-to-be Marni Goldberg, inviting him to their wedding tomorrow afternoon.

Geoffrey took a shot in the dark trying to bring a celebrity to his wedding. Low risk, high reward situation.

It paid off as Brooks accepted the blind-date style invitation.

You have to wonder what Brooks might get the newlyweds as a gift. Perhaps a midnight-green toaster.

This isn’t the first time an Eagles player made someone’s day special. This past season Rookie QB Carson Wentz was tasked to complete a fan’s quiz after losing two straight games and leading in into a week-14 game against the Bengals. That game would be an embarrassing 32-14 loss

Luckily for Wentz, the five-question test from this young fan did not ask about his receiving corps or his struggles adjusting to the NFL.

Wentz responded via twitter and passed with flying colors.